beholder's eyes                     Poetic Express Select Poem award

This garden where the blackbird lightly reigns
has lured me out of bed before the dawn.
I occupy the dark green bench, see stains
of captured flies that spider webs have drawn
and spider teeth have quartered. What a yawn
to contemplate when you are fly-speck small.
The spider's eyes, so many, may enthral
its mate, but mainly make me want to run,
retrieve some counterbalanced spider maul
or get a laser-sighted spider gun.

Remembering how bears approach their work
(They gather food the way their mothers taught
them to as cubs, dig where the best grubs lurk;
glean each wild green precisely when they ought,
learn lightning swipes by which the salmon's caught.)
I lumbered through the Swedish marsh at ease
inside, in tune with ponds and broad-leafed trees
reflected in the shallow water there.
I might have lingered until winter's freeze
had I not stood on menu of the bear.

Imagine if you will a standard foot,
say yours, or Sue's. Most any foot will do.
Think of attire in which it can be put.
Forget the foot: fix focus on the shoe.
Imagine sitting quite alone, shoe hung
by laces from your neck, sole on your lap.
It moves a little and you see its tongue
protrude some more each timid time you tap
you finger on its toe. With some alarm
you feel its damp weight shift. It opens wide.
You make a fist to fit it on your arm
but just before you move to reach inside
the insole splits; threads fail to hold the seam.
A foot-size spider lumbers out. You scream.

Beholder's Eyes appeared in October 1996 on Poetic Express, the legendary and now defunct website associated with The Sacramento News.